Searching for Paradise: Economic Development and Environmental Change in the Mountain West
The signs of economic change loom large in the mountain West as shuttered mines and lumber mills are overshadowed by luxurious homes sprouting on valley bottoms and ridge lines. This perceptive book explains these changes, assesses their effects on the natural environment, and gauges the reactions of local communities. Douglas E. Booth argues that population spread to the mountain West is following a pattern similar to the historical movement of people from central city to suburb, enabled by increases in income and wealth and changes in technology that ease the movement of goods, people, and information. Consolidating evidence that residential development and sprawl in the rural mountain West are placing stress on native plants and animals, the author shows how the current boom is adding to the cumulative and relatively permanent threats to ecosystems and biodiversity remaining from the older extractive economy. Booth demonstrates that population increases are fuelling local support for measures that would restrict and guide growth. He explores the formation of land trusts and other strategies for mitigating the negative ecological consequences of development. Drawing on concepts from economics, environmental ethics, and conservation biology, Booth suggests that the ultimate solution lies in re-directing population growth away from rural areas to reinvigorated and environmentally attractive 'ecological cities' and to increase the density of development within rural areas themselves. Policymakers, activists, and local citizens concerned with rural sprawl will find this book an invaluable resource.
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acres activity agricultural amenities attractive biodiversity Birds California capita income Colorado consequence Conservation Biology Crested Butte decline Denver Metropolitan Area development pressures earned income easements ecological economic Ecosystem effect environment Environmental Ethics environmental orientation Environmentalist EVLT expansion exurban figure fire foothill forests Gallatin Gallatin County grizzly bear habitat loss Herpetiles human impact income share increase Independent Variables interstate land trust land use planning landowners landscape Mammals Mesa County mining Montana mountain West natural environment occur open space percent plants ponderosa pine population density growth population growth population spreading preservation protection ranch ranchers ranchette ranchette or higher rare and imperiled recreation relatively residential development residents respondents result riparian River rural areas rural counties rural mountain counties rural mountain West rural sprawl second home Sierra Nevada ski areas statistically significant suburban suburbs survey threats tion trends vacation homes valley bottom Valley Land Trust wilderness wildlife habitat zoning